A Box of Chocolate Covered Cherries

I Corinthians 13

As a child I loved for my Mom to tell me bedtime stories about her life. In my imagination I could see the little girl growing up in rural Virginia. The dresser in her and Dad’s bedroom still sat a Mason jar holding the treasured marbles she had won as a girl challenging the boys in her school. But with all of Mom’s stories, my favorites were about her and my Dad.  They had met at the end of WWII when he came into a drugstore wearing his naval uniform and asked the girl behind the counter of the “soda fountain” to make him a milkshake. Mom’s face always lit up when she talked about how cute my Dad looked that day. But of all of Mom’s stories the one I asked for repeatedly was the story of the box of chocolate covered cherries.

In our world today if you asked me or most people their favorite candy, I seriously doubt they would answer chocolate covered cherries. If you are like me , you may even think they are “nasty”. But in the time period my parents grew up, they were considered great treats, and one of the few candies that survived the Great Depression and the sugar rationing of WWII.

(*note to reader: Sorry for the history lesson, but this is an important “backstory”)

The early years of Mom and Dad’s marriage they worked hard, and every paycheck bought cinderblocks to be used in building their own small house. That first Christmas in their home was especially tough.  As much as they loved each other it was decided there would be no Christmas presents. But when Mom got up Christmas morning, under the small tree with homemade ornaments ,was a single present. When Dad put it in Mom’s hands , she gently removed the ribbon and paper to find a box of chocolate covered cherries. Knowing the great sacrifice that simple box had cost my Dad, Mom began to cry.  Dad wrapped his arms around her, “Some Christmases we may only have a box of candy and some more, but no matter what, I will always love you! “

For forty-four years my Dad never missed a Christmas buying my Mom a box of chocolate covered cherries. Even those difficult last days setting by her bedside, as she suffered with cancer, he never forgot. “I will always love you.”

There were so many great stories my parents shared with me, but the greatest story was the one they lived in front of me. The secret to their love story was not a box of cherries or a promise of love. Their secret was in the One who taught them love by His indwelling , transforming presence in their lives. They could love even in the hardest of times, because First  Corinthians 13 love had been shown them by their Savior.  I think we all want the “forever after” kind of love, that will carry us throughout our lives. The love that is the subject of songs, poems, books and movies. But you can never know genuine unconditional love, until you first know the love of God.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: …And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (Sections of I Corinthians 13)           *charity=love 1 John 4:8b “…God is love.”1 John 4:8b “…God is love.”

Do you know the love of God?